Pink & Pretty & Red All Over
Our farmgirl chapter met at my house recently. A Valentine's Day theme for our craft project and gift goodies was the game plan. Come on in and sit a spell.
"Think pink" has been my mantra in preparation for the upcoming light-hearted holiday (pun intended). Red is my favorite color and pink is her little sister. Valentines Day just wouldn't be the same without them.
Ok, so here we go to the "High Plains Sage Hens" farmgirl conflab (is that really a word?). Before you head out the door though, dress like you're going for a leisurely trek across the frozen, frigid Klondike. My farmgirl pals and I have "cabin fever" due to this winter being one of the snowiest in recent memory. I know we're not alone. Many of you all over the country are experiencing the same thing!
From left to right: Lisa, Anita, Michele, Jennie. The girls peeled off their layers and the pile of coats, hats, scarves & mittens left on our bed was impressive! Then, the gift bags appeared while I was finishing up supper details. On the menu: Chicken noodle soup, salad, bread, Nanking Cherry butter (made from fruit that I picked in August), and Strawberry heart-shaped cookies. Look for recipes below.
I'll try to keep some order here. First, let me share what the gift goodies were. Michele made embellished chicken wire hearts stuffed with moss, also spearmint soaking salts (for feet) and on the brown paper sack they were tucked in, hung a chicky-bell. She also left a fabulous cabin bird house in my care; she built it from scratch and donated it for an upcoming benefit auction (for a beautiful baby girl named "Lily"). I'll deliver the cabin. For the auction, Anita made and donated a couple of split-oak baskets, I'm donating jewelry. Lisa has made sure that news of the auction is well promoted in her newspaper. Jennie has been helping with the auction and is distributing bracelet bands. We are all planning on bidding at the auction. Please keep little Lily and her family in your thoughts and prayers. She is going to be undergoing cancer treatment for quite some time.
Lisa gave each of us a beautifully wrapped trio of pink tipped yellow roses (below) with a gourmet candy bar tied on with ribbon. Jennie brought each of us an extra long "hank" of tea-dyed cheese cloth to hang folk-hearts from - oh so artsy for lots of things. I used a little of it as a decorative jar cover for my cherry butter jars (see below). My gift to give the girls was wooden spoons and jars of cherry butter. Anita knitted each of us a pair of woolen mittens. She also made my mother a pair that fits her hard-to-fit hands (bent over because of arthritis).
Jennie took a few pics with her phone ... stitching up hearts ...
Gift bag from Michele, roses from Lisa ...
Shery and Anita ...
I'll offer up the recipes now - one for my cherry butter and the other for the cookies shown on today's blog. I took these photos of the cherries while I was picking them ... over 15 pounds in three buckets + several handfuls for the picker :o) Hang with me, I'll get to our craft project too.
Nanking Cherry Butter
I based this recipe on the amount of juice I ended up with. Multiply or decrease your ingredients as needed. I ended up filling 20 half pint jars.
9 Cups "pulpy" juice
8 Cups sugar
3 packages of cherry gelatin
2 packages of Sure-Jel
Bring fruit to boil and simmer for about half an hour. Let cool. You can freeze the juice until later if you like.
Spoon cherry pulp into a sieve and mash thoroughly. Discard seeds. Add sugar, cherry gelatin and Sure-Jel. Stir well. Bring to a boil, stir often. Turn off heat. Skim foam off the top. Pour hot liquid into clean pint jars, put lids on and process in hot water bath for about 8-10 minutes. Yield: 20 half pint jelly jars.
Pink & Easy Valentine Cookies
These cookies are crispy crunchy.
I box of Strawberry cake mix
1 stick of melted butter
1 large egg
several drops of red food coloring (optional)
Ready-to-go Strawberry frosting or home-made butter cream frosting
Combine ingredients, stir until dough is uniform in color. Roll out and cut cookies into heart shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Yield: about one dozen.
Our craft project was to stitch up a bushel of hearts. What to do with them afterward, you ask? The ideas were to hang a trio of them on an Aspen branch and then hang the branch on a door or a wall etc. Or, another option is to make half a dozen stuffed hearts out of tan linen, then attach them to strips of Jennie's tea-dyed cheese cloth. I saw a herd of them hanging on farmhouse door ... oh so charming. I made a long heart out of a piece of an antique crazy quilt. For trim, I added an old key, velvet ribbon and a ribbon rose bud. It now hangs on the front of my Hoosier cupboard. I think I'll make another smaller heart out of tan linen and embellish it with mother-of-pearl buttons and maybe my first initial. Notice two other stuffed hearts in this article ... the checkered one that has the word "farmy" cross-stitched on it and the other one graces a miniature twig bed. You can get directions to make your very own twig bed by subscribing to the MaryJanesFarm sisterhood online newsletter/magazine. The twig bed is in the current February issue -- look for it in the 'Make It Easy' section when you open the file.
Oh, and here is a quick & easy valentine that you can make several of in just a few minutes. Very easy for children too. Literally handmade! You could use red paint on one hand and pink on the other. As a family project, make a mural of all the hands in your household and give it to Grandma and Grandpa. *(I found this on an educational website - "free ideas".)
Whoooaa pony, slow it on down to a gentle mosey. We're gonna take a little trail ride through Pink-A-Dilly Canyon.
Cowgirls Do Pink.
Pink is fun loving ... and fun to wear. It has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Not so long ago, I read that "Pink is the new black" ... whatever that means. There is nothin' new about girls gravitating toward pink. I was "tickled pink" to find a chocolate colored riding coat with pink fleece lining. I also bought the vest for milder weather. Lassies and ladies have been wearing pink for a long, long, long time.
One of America's favorite "First Ladies" made wearing pink all the rage. Below: Jackie Kennedy (Onassis).
Historically, pink has been very popular ... and not just for clothing.
A friend of mine has a pink refrigerator. Reproduction models are now available in "retro" colors. Below: Fiestaware pitcher, antique French enamelware pitcher, Depression glass cake plate, "fridge".
MaryJanesFarm editor, Carol Hill, drives a vintage Volkswagon Bug (soft green, I believe). Here are a few more pink retro "rides"...
Our friend, Leroy, owns this gorgeous 1956 fuschia pink Ford Fairlane. When it was brand spanking new, I was too :o)
As is true with all colors, our Creator invented pink ...
The community of wildflowers offers a vast array of pink beauties. The water loving species below makes it's home in a pond down the road from us. It blooms in August. I've not been able to name it. Does anyone out there know her name? I took the photo when we were helping neighbors ship their cattle.
Last year, I discovered a wonderful flower bed plant ... salmon pink Oxalis. This variety is called "Iron Cross" because of the dark coloration on the leaves. Wyoming is a harsh climate ... hot, dry summers, cold cold winters. I was delighted to see my Oxalis not only survived, but thrived and bloomed until they froze. I left the corms in the ground because it is said to be winter hardy. We'll see. Regardless, I'm ordering s'more.
True pink is a gentle and comforting color. It can veer left and appear as barely pink or take a hard right and light up the High Plains prairie like the brilliant Bitteroot does when in bloom. I took the below photo when we were moving my BIL's cattle in the month of May. The prairie looked as if it was scattered with HOT pink faux flowers. They didn't look real! I should have taken a photo of the effect. Words can't do the image justice. But, the cattle were moving and I had to move on.
In the not so distant past, jobs for "womenfolk" beyond the homefront were pretty darn limited. The jobs that did exist for women were referred to as "pink collar" jobs. Now, the pink collar list is much longer and multi-dimensional. Personally, I believe there is no job more important than being a "home maker", but ... having a good career ought to be among our choices. Life is all about making wise choices. My mother once dreamed of being a doctor when she was a college co-ed. But, as was the case with so many women in the early 50s, her dream didn't happen. Instead, she chose to marry & raise a family. For my sake, I'm glad she did. This year, the daughter of friends of ours will become a pediatric oncologist. She's worked very hard for several years to finally arrive. I have to believe that her journey was made a little easier though since her generation doesn't have negative social pressure working so hard to oppress the gifts and talents that half of the population has to offer. Women today are contributing so much heart to society. Not only in the home, but in the workplace. I also think I see young women realizing how important balance is. A one sided affair in any situation is not good in the long run. Balance, now there is a word worth dedicating your life to. Role models come to mind. We have one whose name is at the top of this page. MaryJane Butters. Talk about a great "pink collar" role model.
Psychologists claim that pink has a calming effect on men and an empowering effect on women. Hmm, interesting. Pink is said to be the color of happiness. I'll buy that. "Words often have color in their meaning and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone's eyes light up and know it is a pink word for them too." ~ Gladys Taber. That quote nicely conveys the shared feelings of my farmgirl pals when we hang together.
Happy Valentines Day to all of you, my farmgirl friends out yonder. Here is a wonderful song of love by the late Nicolette Larson ... "French Waltz". The waltz truly is the dance of love, inspired by the rhythm of the human heartbeat. The classic art vignettes that accompany this song/video are as charming as the song. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj8Wat1Z0PY